Regatta Report

Pac Rims – 2022

Pac Rims – 2022 – Kaneohe, HI
Write-up by Brad Ruetenik


The Pacific Rim Championships were recently held at Kaneohe Yacht Club on Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, HI. 17 boats participated in the event. 11 boats came over from the mainland via Pasha shipping, the title sponsor for the event. This event started in 2001 and is a typically sailed every other year, and is one of the most anticipated events on the International 14 calendar world wide. Numerous overseas sailors have come and participated in this event over the years from AUS, CAN, GBR, GER, ITA, JPN and SUI. This year was no exception with GBR and ITA teams coming and using chartered boats to sail. There were also 6 local Hawaiian boats sailing as the local HI fleet remains strong and has shown a good deal of younger sailors interested in the class. Pasha shipping has sponsored this event for several years, and as a way to thank the local shipping company the I 14 fleet runs a Jr. clinic each year introducing the young local sailors to skiff sailing and trying to teach some ‘tricks of the trade’. These kids are great sailors already as they are sailing in the consistent 15-20 kt. Tradewinds most of the year. They are sailing in numerous different boats from a young age and are not ‘pigeon holed’ into a certain type of boat which we see in so many other areas. They are sailing El Toros, and Toppers, a few 420s, but usually quickly expand into 29ers, Kite foiling and Waspz. Very multidimensional sailors come out of this training and they are not afraid to try something new.

The two containers from LA & SF were unloaded and boats put together on Thur. afternoon with a few boats getting out for an evening shakedown. The Thur. evening beer can races were well attended by the local club members and several of the 14ers jumped on local boats to get their lead poisoning fix! Fri saw more boat prep. and tuning sails in 14-18 kts. Unfortunately, there are some channels with surrounding reefs on both sides on the entrance/exit to the club as well as a few spots out in the bay. These caught a few of the first time Kaneohe sailors, and there was some carbon and board repairs occurring Fri evening,

The event started on Sat AM with a skippers meeting informing the fleet that we would be sailing every race under a U-flag, apparently the RC did not want to deal with any OCSs. This event was also scheduled for 3 days of racing, planning to get 9 races in. Oh, and no throw outs! The 4th day is sch. for the ‘Hawaii State Championships’, which is a reverse handicap distance race starting LeMans style off the bulkhead, a tour around Kaneohe Bay then outside in the large ocean swell across to Coconut Island (remember seeing Gilligan’s Island – that’s it!) and back into the bay via the ship channel – the highlight of the week.

Racing Sat. started with the predicted 18-20 kts. of Tradewinds. At the end of the day the RC reported some 25 kt gusts had come through. The fleet was somewhat tentative at the starts due to the U-flag. The legs were approx. 1 mile windward / leeward with an offset mark at the top and single leeward mark. First race was single lap windward / leeward with Paul Galvez and Daniel Roberts drawing first blood in Paul’s B5. Brad Ruetenik and Garrett Brown were 2nd in Brad’s B6 with borrowed single spreader rig from Channing Hamlet who couldn’t make it to HI (Thanks and sorry Channing and Pete). Third was Charles Duchesne and Adam Ovington our GBR visitors in Terry Gleason’s borrowed Hollom (2 x World champ boat 2015-2016). After a long delay between races trying to get boats finished, we sailed another 1 lap race which was later reportedly completed in 12 min. The race was won by Brad and Garrett in there reefed, small jib set-up, Charlie and Adam were 2nd, and John Clark and Michael Lazzaro sailed very well and were 3rd in John’s beautiful modified B6. Race three was run as a two lap W/L and was again won by Paul and Danial, with Brad and Garrett 2nd and James Clarkson and Josh Leihe finishing in 3rd in Jame’s Hollom. There was also lots of great sailing and racing in the mid fleet where the boats still match up well. Most of the Hawaiian fleet has purposefully stayed in the slightly older boats where there is another award for the boats older than B5s, which came into being in 2005. These are mostly B2s and 3s with a couple modified Ice hulls. A fourth race was not in the cards on Sat., so the fleet returned to KYC and the Mai Tais and the BS started.

Sun., day two, started with the predicted breeze being slightly less than Sat. but still 14-18, beautiful skiff sailing breeze. We did get four races in with race four being won by Charlie and Adam, 2nd to Terry Gleason and JP Barnes in Terry’s newer Hollom, and 3rd to Paul and Daniel. Race five saw Brad and Garrett win, Charlie & Adam 2nd, and Terry and JP 3rd. Race six was again won by Charlie and Adam, 2nd to Brad and Garrett, and 3rd to Terry and JP. Race seven saw Charlie and Adam win again, thus winning the day. Brad & Garrett were 2nd, and 3rd was taken by James and Josh. The breeze was close to predicted with a few more powerful 20 kt gusts coming through during the day, but there were also some light spots which could easily catch you out.

Day three stated with slightly lighter predicted conditions of 14-16. Again, the U-flag continued to fly holding the fleet back for the most part, apparently there was one anxious sailor called OCS. Race eight was won by Brad and Garrett which was later thrown out on a Port / Starboard protest, leaving Charlie and Adam to win the race. Michael Leitch and Elizabeth Campbell were 2nd in their newish to them B6. James and Josh were 3rd. Race nine was again won by Brad and Garrett, Charlie and Adam in 2nd, and Terry and JP in 3rd. This allowed Charlie and Adam to win the 2022 I-14 Pac Rim Championship. Brad and Garrett 2nd, Paul and Daniel 3rd, James and Josh 4th, and Kirk Twardowski and Matt Skafel in 5th in Kirk’s B6. Elizabeth Campbell was the first woman’s finisher. In the Silver class (older boats pre B5) JP Lattanzi and Gavin Ball were 1st in their B3, Kerri Harris and Bryce Huntoon in a B3 were 2nd, Tom Pochereva and Yovo Stefanov were 3rd in a B2, and Maddy Kennedy and Patrick Wilson were 4th in a B3.

There were also some newer 14 sailors who came over to HI to continue their learning curves. Dan Keseler and Mats Elf in Dan’s B5 and Ted Conrads and Dave Kenny in Ted’s B6 were both victims of the reef at times, but both agreed they learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the sailing and support from the fleet. They both will continue to work at sailing these boats. Dan is a prior M24 National Champ and Ted has been top 5 in 505 Worlds. Looking forward to these guys continuing to learn these boats, and watch out everyone as they are coming on quickly!

On Sun morning we set up the top two boats on dry land and had a few of the top crews and drivers go through the boats with the KYC Jr. sailors. We then showed several dry land movements through the boats for both tacks and gybes as crew and skippers. After this, the Jr. sailors took turns going through the boats doing tacks and gybes wire to wire with support and instruction by some of the top 14 sailors in the country. This was very well received by the Jr. Sailors and Pasha executives.

The last day of sailing was Tue. for the much anticipated Long Distance race, which by my tracker was approximately 20 mi. and took us a bit under 2 hrs. to complete. As previously stated this is a reverse handicap race so the last place boat starts first and each boat is given a handicap, usually approx. 2 min./boat. Thus the first place boat starts 30 + min. after the initial boat. This is a very fun event and allows the slower boats to see what some of the top boats are doing if they can get past. There is always a bit of dock banter as to where some people finished in the event and their starting position off the dock. Not that there would ever be any ‘Sand bagging” in an attempt to set up a good spot for the “Hawaii State Championship”. The race involves setting a kite almost immediately off the dock, navigating the aforementioned corral reefs exiting and entering the club. There is essentially and windward leeward on the waters we have been sailing all weekend, then a reach down the bay until you drop kite and continue reaching to the San Pan Channel, exiting beside the Marine Corps Air Station, which is a 150-200 m wide channel out into open ocean with breaking waves on both sides and 6-8’ swell running. After exiting this channel there is an approx. 2-3 mi beam reach in even bigger swell across to the entrance to the Ship cannel. This is upwind of the famous Kaneohe Bay “Sand Bar” reef with breaking waves across the front. Big gear shifts are required while down between swells and then back up on top where the wind dies and builds on each wave. We head across to the entrance of the ship channel, then turn downwind towards Chinamen’s Hat (Gilligan’s Island) which we sail by on the downwind big swell entrance back into the bay. From there it is a 2 sail reach back across under the Kaneohe Bay “Sand Bar”, again navigating the reefs on both sides. Then on back to the club entrance and a shifty puffy upwind finish through the entrance channel. Terry and JP won this race as they were first to finish. Some of the local Jrs., JP Lattanzi and Gavin Ball sailed great for 2nd in a B3 (these guys are going to be great – watch out skiffies). Local Hawaiians Michael Pacholski and Patrick Tara in a B5 finished in 3rd.

After all back in safe, the container loading party commenced with 5 boats returning to LA and 6 boats back to SF. 2 boats made the one way trip out to HI, one B3 which was sold and will stay in HI and Andy Bates B5 which will stay in HI for the time being until the next big event.

Thanks to Kaneohe Yacht Club, one of the nicest and most enjoyable clubs I’ve ever sailed out of. Thanks also to Andy Bates and Maureen who work tirelessly to allow us to sail these amazing boats in an amazing setting. If you ever have the chance to sail 14s in Kaneohe, don’t hesitate!


Brad Ruetenik

USA 1200

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